Berlin, Oct 17 (AP/UNB) — Five relatives of people killed in a devastating dam collapse in Brazil are suing a manager of Germany company TUeV Sued that was involved in inspecting the structure.
German news site Spiegel Online reported Thursday that criminal complaints were submitted against a manager and a lawyer, as well as an administrative complaint against the company itself.
Munich prosecutors said the complaint accuses the unnamed manager of bribery, negligence related to the dam collapse and negligent homicide through inaction. The lawyer is accused of negligence through failed oversight.
At least 240 people died when the dam at a mine operated by Brazilian company Vale collapsed Jan. 25, flooding the city of Brumadinho with mud.
German news agency dpa quoted TUeV Sued as saying it remains committed to investigating the cause of the tragedy and will continue to cooperate with authorities in Brazil and Germany.
Hong Kong, Oct 17 (AP/UNB) — Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam was forced from the legislature for the second day on Thursday by opposition members protesting a bloody attack on a leader of the nearly 5-month-old pro-democracy movement.
The lawmakers shouted and waved placards depicting Lam with bloodied hands, prompting the removal of 14 by guards and the suspension of the question-and-answer session.
On Wednesday, Lam was forced to abandon an annual policy address in the chamber, later delivering it by television.
Disruption in the chamber and the attack Wednesday night on Jimmy Sham by assailants wielding hammers and knives marked the latest dramatic turn in the unrest that has rocked the city since June. Protesters and police have both deployed levels of violence unseen since the former British colony reverted to Chinese rule in 1997.
Lam took just three questions, all from pro-government lawmakers.
In one response, Lam reiterated that her "first priority" was ending the violence that has dealt a blow to the local economy as well as Hong Kong's reputation as a safe, law-abiding center for finance and business with a sophisticated independent judiciary.
Lam said she was working with the city's 180,000 public servants and transport authorities to restore order, although that task was made harder by members of the public sympathetic to the cause of the "rioters," as she termed the hard-core protesters.
Shortly after, she withdrew amid chants and calls for her resignation, with pro-democratic legislator Claudia Mo shouting, "Carrie Lam, you are a liar!"
The protests began in response to a now-withdrawn extradition bill that would have allowed criminal suspects to be sent for trial in Communist Party-controlled courts in mainland China. The movement then ballooned to encompass broader clamors for universal suffrage, an independent inquiry of the policing methods used against protesters and other demands, including ending the description of protesters as "rioters."
The demonstrations have also been fueled by widespread concerns that Beijing is chipping away at the separate political and legal freedoms Beijing promised Hong Kong could maintain for 50 years following the transfer from British rule.
Sham has been one of the public faces of the protest movement as a leader of the Civil Human Rights Front, which has organized large demonstrations. He was on his way to an evening meeting in the district of Kowloon when four or five attackers pounced on him, leaving him with bloody head injuries but conscious, the Front said on its Facebook page.
It suggested the assault was politically motivated, linked "to a spreading political terror in order to threaten and inhibit the legitimate exercise of natural and legal rights."
Mo and other opposition legislators on Thursday suggested the attack on Sham may have been designed to frighten others away from protesting, or even to help provide a pretext for the government to call off district council elections scheduled for next month.
"We can't help but feel that this entire thing is part of a plan to shed blood on Hong Kong's peaceful protests," Mo was quoted as saying for government broadcaster RTHK. "If you think you're being peaceful and you're safe, you're not."
Sham spent the night in a hospital and his wounds to the head and arm were not considered life threatening, according to the station.
The assailants escaped in a vehicle and their identities remained unknown, although organized crime elements have long been accused of engineering attacks on protesters and leaders of the pro-democracy camp.
Police last month arrested two people, including a 15-year-old boy, over an assault on Sham and his assistant while they were dining in a cafe. Sham was not injured in that attack.
Lam's supporters and their Communist Party backers in Beijing have strongly protested all foreign criticism of Lam's handling of the protests. They responded with outrage this week to legislation passed by the U.S. Congress to support the protesters. One of the bills requires annual reviews by the U.S. secretary of state of Hong Kong's special economic and trade status, providing a check on Beijing's influence over the territory.
Pro-Beijing legislator Regina Ip said the American politicians were seeking to "interfere mostly in the domestic affairs of Hong Kong and to promote the political interests of their proxies in Hong Kong."
"U.S. interests are bound to be hurt adversely as a result," Ip said.
In an interview with Hong Kong's South China Morning Post newspaper, Susan Thornton, a former U.S. senior diplomat for East Asia, said the bills' passage would be a "huge mistake" that would harm "exactly the wrong people."
"To me, Beijing would like nothing more than the U.S. to remove Hong Kong's special status," she said.
Bandung, Oct.17 (Antara-AsiaNet/UNB)- Indonesian state-owned enterprise specialized in vaccine production, Bio Farma, hosted Cold Chain Management System workshop for the member states of Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Bandung, West Java, Indonesia, on October 1-2, 2019.
Held in partnership with the Ministry of Health of Republic of Indonesia, the Workshop is designed to become the experience and knowledge sharing platform and help the OIC members witness the entire spectrum of vaccine production - right from the research, marketing, up to the distribution of vaccines.
The Workshop is a part of Bio Farma's road map implementation after Indonesia being named as The Center of Excellence in terms of bio-technology and vaccine products on December 2017.
In her remarks, Minister of Health, Nilla F. Moeloek, noted that the global health issues keep getting challenging as ever. The ever-increasing pathogen risk, animal-to-human diseases, and antimicrobial resistance are just a few of so many health issues that the world currently has to face.
"The access to high-quality vaccines and drugs as well as the other bio-technology products plays a pivotal role in coping with such issues.
However, not all of the OIC member states have such a privilege," said Moeloek. She continued, Indonesia is eager to reassert its position as the Center of Excellence of bio-technology and vaccine products for OIC.
"Indonesia will keep providing necessary supports for all of the OIC members to fight all of the ever-increasing health issues," she stated.
On the same occasion, OIC Assistant Secretary General for Science and Technology, Askar Musinov, conveyed that Bio Farma has contributed significantly in helping all of the OIC members address many kinds of health issues.
"I hope that all of the incoming participants can leverage what Bio Farma is capable of and, eventually, we can see the vaccine and drug independence in all of the OIC members," said Askar.
During the Workshop, 22 incoming member states visited a number of the state-owned company's facilities, such as the research and development, packaging, and distribution facilities.
Vice Chairman of OIC Vaccine Manufacturers Group M. Rahman Roestan added that the Workshop is a manifest of global trust to the Indonesian pharmaceutical industry.
"It's such an honor to have such a global recognition. We are committed to providing continued training and knowledge transfer efforts to help all of the OIC members be pharmaceutically resilient," asserted Rahman.
Furthermore, Rahman continued, through the Workshop, together with all the OIC members, Bio Farma can develop the new potential vaccines to address the currently unmet health issues, such as HIV, dengue fever, and Ebola.
"It usually takes 10-20 years to develop a new vaccine. Through this collaboration, we really hope that we can abridge the process," Rahman expounded.
As a state-owned company, Bio Farma is responsible to ensure the vaccine resilience and availability, not only in Indonesia, but also throughout the Islamic countries worldwide.
Canberra, Oct 17 (AP/UNB) — Ronan Farrow's new book is being sold in Australia despite threats of defamation lawsuits that the Pulitzer-winning journalist believes led some Australian retailers to drop the bestseller.
"Catch and Kill" covers events leading to Farrow's New Yorker magazine expose of Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein's alleged sexual misconduct.
Farrow's book also makes repeated references to former National Enquirer editor in chief Dylan Howard, whose lawyers sent letters to Australian booksellers threatening lawsuits.
Amazon Australia and Booktopia declined to comment Thursday on their decisions not to sell Farrow's book.
A number of smaller Australian book retailers received the letters, but most did not.
Lawyer Andrew Thorpe, who signed the letters, did not respond when asked by AP who had received them.
Beirut Oct 17 (AP/UNB) — The commander of the Syrian Kurdish-led forces says U.S. President Donald Trump did not oppose a deal his group made with Russia and the Syrian government to protect against a Turkish offensive in northeastern Syria.
Commander Mazloum Kobani told Ronahi, a Kurdish TV channel, late Wednesday that Trump essentially gave the go-ahead for the deal. Kobani and Trump spoke by telephone Monday, a day after the Kurdish forces announced the agreement.
The deal came after Trump ordered U.S. troops to step aside as Turkey launched its attack last week. Syria's Kurdish fighters have allied with the U.S. since 2014 to fight Islamic State militants. Kobani said the priority now is to stop Turkey's invasion.
Kobani said his forces will decide what to do with detained IS prisoners and their families.